Ladakh: God's Masterpiece

Rohit Malik

Born to Ride

Prologue :

Leh, Mecca for bikers and a dream for every traveler, tourist or wanderer whatever you are. I started riding to Himalayas in 2013 and since then covered almost whole of Uttarakhand (chopta tungnath five times ☺), Spiti Valley circuit (most adventurous), Jalori pass in knee deep snow, Kinnaur (Sangla and chitkul twice), and many more places. But Leh was always my dream as it is everyone’s and it fascinated me with the unbelievable beauty it beholds in its lap. And not to forget, my companion, my beloved and ever trusted, my Classic 350 (I call her BEAST) took me to all those places.

I was planning the Leh trip for almost 4 years and it was not happening for one or the other reason. But June 2017 was marked for this epic journey. My friend and colleague, Vaishali Dharmshaktu, was also planning the same with her friends, so we decided to do it together and hence the plan.


The itinerary we made was quite fast and tedious but we hoped to make it work but as u all know, It’s the LEH roads and weather that decides at the end what itinerary one’s going to follow. Manali was our rendezvous point as we were travelling from different places. Three of our friends have already reached Manali on 9th June on their bikes. I reached Manali on 11th June at 1am on my Beast and rest 4 at 4am by HRTC bus from ISBT Delhi.

June 11: Manali to Darcha (147km)

June 12: Darcha to Leh (335km)

June 13: Leh to Nubra Valley (120km)

June 14: Nubra to Pangong (170km) via agham shyok route

June 15: Pangong to Leh (140km)

June 16: Leh local

June 17: Karu toTso Moriri (170km)

June 18: Tso Moriri to Sarchu (almost 225km) via Tso Kar

June 19: Sarchu to Batal, Chandrataal (250Km)

June 20: Batal to Manali (130km)

June 21: Manali to Delhi (550km)

What we actually did:

June 11: Manali to Darcha (147km)

June 12: Darcha to Pang (165km)

June 13: Pang to Leh (170km)

June 14: Magnetic Hill, Nimmu confluence, Thikse Monastery

June 15: Leh to Pangong (170km)

June 16: Pangong to Nubra Valley(170km) via agham shyok route

June 17: Nubra Valley to Leh(120km)

June 18: Leh to Tso Moriri (210km)

June19: Tso Moriri to Darcha (310km) via Tso Kar

June 20: Darcha to Mandi (260km)

June 21: Mandi to Delhi (440km)

This was made keeping in mind that 2 of our friends had their flight on 20th from Delhi to Mumbai and they wanted to cover as much beauty of Ladakh as they could. But, we also had to keep altering our plan because of the AMS (due to which 2 of our friends had to return from Leh itself), Snow Storms, Road blocks due to heavy snowfall and what not. But all of those made this journey an unforgettable experience of lifetime.

The Gang :

Vaishali Dharmshaktu aka Bini


AMIT aka Matu


Sachin Rajput


Amisha Jangpangi aka ami


Anuj Gupta aka Dr.


Mansi Nautiyal aka Akku


Kamal Kant Chaudhary


Rohit Malik i.e. me :)


Detailed travelogue will follow soon ☺.
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Rohit Malik

Born to Ride
Excellent start Rohit. Nice introduction. Tell us about preparation part also.
Thanks shekhar
For preparation, the we got our bikes serviced just before the trip.
For spares, the we had clutch n accelerator wires, plugs, tubes for both tires, puncture kit for both tu bula n tubeless tires and a air pump. All the riders had the necessary riding gears plus we had Mr Anuj aka Dr sab who carried all the medicines required specially dimox

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Well-Known Member
June 14: Nubra to Pangong (170km) via agham shyok route

How is the road , I am planning on last week of August

Rohit Malik

Born to Ride
June 14: Nubra to Pangong (170km) via agham shyok route

How is the road , I am planning on last week of August
Road is good except the river bed you have to cross and a 1km stretch of landslide prone area.. It took us just five an a half hours to cover pangong to diskit.. But the road might not be in the same condition as it was closed for 10 days in July due to landslide.. So can't be sure of the present condition

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Rohit Malik

Born to Ride
Day 1 : June 11 Manali to darcha
Today is the day which marks the starting of our dream journeyO:) . Everybody has reached Manali and was excited for the ride ahead. weather was perfect. We were ready by 9am, had our breakfast of aloo pyaj parantha, omelette, bread jam and chai. Then we started the gradual ascent to Rohtang pass, leaving the beautiful city of Manali behind and going through the lush green forest area. We encountered traffic jam caused by Gulaba check post which is 20 km from Manali. Somehow we sneaked through the traffic and reached the check post. Here we got stamp on our permits from the check post officials and marched ahead.

All set to go


leaving Manali behind


Treat to the eyes


After Gulaba, the road became narrower and steeper. We were frequently stooping for photographic breaks as the scenery was so alluring that we had to stop after each few km to try to capture it:). Kamal who was riding for the first time in hills was having some difficulties negotiating the steep hairpin bends on the narrow road but he kept going slowly and steadily. After numerous photography break and enjoying the kullu valley, we finally reached the rohtang top at 12pm:supz:.

photo break enroute


me, enjoying the vistas


ek selfie to banti h :p


rohtang top, tourists enjoying in snow


A panorama


Rohtang stands at a height of 3978m , covered in snow almost whole year and with tourists too. It offers amazing view to the vistas around it. We stopped for a while enjoying the snow, taking photos and having rest just sitting there doing nothing and trust me, that feels good.

As we started the descend towards khoksar, the road was totally broken, with steep hairpin bends. It was difficult to control the bikes on that road. It was very tiring and time consuming and it took us almost an hour to cover the 20 odd km stretch from rohtang to khoksar:Hangman:. We stopped at a roadside dhaba about 100 metre before the khoksar check post for much needed lunch and rest. It was a very nice place to eat with a wide valley and a huge waterfall across the valley. We took the round table outside the dhaba and ordered rajma chawal, mutton rice and momos for our momos crazy girls which they absolutely loved and a boon to the body, chai :razz:. The food was good and it provided the much needed energy to our bodies which was drained by the dreadful rohtang descent.

road was good initially descending from rohtang, you can see the entry to the spiti valley on the left

IMG_8080 (1).jpg

roadside dhaba where we had lunch


After having brunch and enough rest, we started towards that day's destination, Darcha. We chose darcha above jispa because our friend Sachin stayed there on his last trip in a dhaba owned by Mr Laal Singh ji. He offers tenterhooks accommodation at a mere Rs 150 per bed and good food at quite low price.

We were going swiftly enjoying the mountains and twisties on the road. Around 10km before the town of Keylong, we stopped at the last petrol station on the Leh Manali road at tandi having the famous sign board i.e. Next filling station 365km.

We filled up the tanks and 20 litres in cans for backup. There we talked about stopping at keylong for making phone calls to our family but because of some confusion, 3 of us i.e. Sachin, bini and me reached darcha without stopping at keylong taking the bypass and remaining 5 stopped at keylong. We reached darcha around 6pm and ordered chai as it was getting colder with every minute. We waited for our friends for half an hour but they were nowhere to be seen. We were getting anxious about them thinking whether something happened to someone or some problem with the bike. After waiting for half an hour, we decided to go back to look for them. Just as we were about to leave, we saw our friends approaching and we were so happy and relieved watching them coming. They told us they were waiting for us in keylong city.

After sorting out the confusion, we booked our beds with laal Singh ji and within no time , we were under the warm quilts . We ordered dinner and we were having chit chat about that day's journey and the challenges we faced. Kamal, who was riding for first time in the himalayas had problems negotiating the difficult roads but he did that bravely .

laal singh ji and his wife, lovely people


our cozy beds :p




you can see the darcha village in this pic and the beautiful valley it is engulfed in


I was dead tired as I had done Mumbai to Darcha almost non-stop i.e. 17 hours of train journey from mumbai to delhi, 2 hours bus journey from delhi to panipat and then 9 hours ride to manali and sleep of just 2 hours & then 6 hours ride to darcha. 4 of my friends who came by bus were also very tired as there bus took almost 20 hours as it broke near bilaspur.
Our bodies were aching and head was paining so we decided to sleep early. But before that, bini, ami, Matu n Dr saab enjoyed the flavoured hukkah they bought from Manali. We had a sound sleep as the bed was cozy and quilts were so warm.

Next day was going to be a big day as we had to cover almost 335km to Leh crossing four high altitude passes but what actually happened was totally different .
Stay tuned for the next part as it's going to be full of interesting events, big water crossing, first snowfall , AMS, night at a very high altitude and what not :confused::confused:.
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